Ramblings


I’m realizing my last post was probably way more depressing than I had intended – sorry!  It was just a weird, weird weekend, but with lots o’ irritating things thrown in for desperate giggles.

I tried going online to find some feminist humor to plug in here to lighten things up – you can just imagine how that google search went – bleagh.

Anyhoo, I realized that between mr. jolt’s crazy schedule last fall and everything w/ the illness and death of his mom this spring, that I basically feel like I’ve lost the year (summer was ok, but spring 2008 schedule also sucked).  So I’m giving myself a do-over b/c all my various goals, etc. got put on hold (some will remain on hold thanks to a hiring and wage freeze where I work – Boo! Hiss!).  Looking back it just feels like all sorts of stuff got de-railed or shoved on some siding while all sorts of things flew by.  I’m out of railroad metaphors so I’ll stop there.

And so, I’m looking forward to a new online writing class which starts next week -yippee! And some evenings this summer in which to write.

In other news, yesterday was my birthday – happy bday to me!  Time for a new start and a new direction.   

I realize there was no point to this post, but I had to get the last one off the top of the page. Oy!

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place: Boston

occasion: memorial gathering for my MIL

scene I: (hotel room)  After spending seven plus hours in the car, we are finally settling the boys down to sleep.  It is after 11pm.  Suddenly, there is an alarm.  A very loud alarm. An announcement that there has been an alarm (uh, thanks we figured that out) and that if evacuation were needed further announcement will follow.  Panic by boys, dithering by mr. jolt and I – do we need to leave even though there were no additional instructions?  We step into the hall; consensus of those in the hall is that we haven’t gotten evacuation instructions.  The fire doors at one end of the hall have automatically closed and our room door is next to the stairs so we decide to sit tight for the moment.  mr. jolt tries to settle the boys again while I am unsettled listening to various people from floors above us (we are on the 12th floor of a 38 story hotel) clomp down the stairs behind our room.  I call the front desk who appears to state we can leave if we want but the source of the alarm is still being checked out.  We decide to wait.  A half hour later the alarm goes off again, followed by an announcement that the hotel is “resuming normal operations.”  This second announcement is bookended by another series of painfully loud sounds (why, now that the crisis is over?)   We assume that we can assume the normal operations of sleeping at midnight.  The boys are finally asleep at about 12:30, but are up at 7am, which will prove a bad combination later in the day.

scene II: (outside Neiman Marcus attached to mall attached to hotel)  I wait for the funeral services person who pulls up in his red and black smart car to hand over the cremains of my MIL in abox tucked into discreet green paper shopping bag.  I then carry cremains through a mall and up to our hotel room.  They are heavy.

scene III: (lobby of hotel) I meet my mom who flew out for occasion who informs me that the hotel we are staying in is apparently the crimescene of the craigslist murderer.  Great!

scene III: (along the esplanade) throwing portions of the cremains into the Charles River while stopping on our way to the gathering.  I am wearing black and shoes not made for walking and it is really hot.  We are luckily not arrested for throwing foregin material into the Charles (my secret worry).

scene IV: (at the restaurant, which has opened early just for us) I frantically try to hush my boys who are in FULL meltdown mode so that the people sharing stories during the memorial gathering can actually be heard.  In the ensuing fracas, I miss both what mr. jolt says about his own mother and what his grandmother says of her daughter. sigh.  Later, in a subsequent dispute over whether the small chalkboard lent him by a waiter was in fact a permanent gift that can be brought home, LB bites me, which he hasn’t done in several years.   My shriek is loud and I am totally mortified that a side of the family I mostly haven’t seen in 4 years has heard it (we are in a separate room at the time).

scene V: (boston public gardens) we were planning to scatter more cremains, but it is very crowded and we are worried about getting arrested or something, so we don’t.

scene VI: leaving the next morning, as we pull out of the parking garage into 90 degree sunny day, mr. jolt observes that the A/C has stopped working.  We spend 7 plus hours in the car with no A/C.

I’ve decided I need to cultivate that unflappable cool demonstrated so ably by our current President. As I was remarking to a friend the other day, I am highly flappable, whereas it would be far more useful to be Unflappable.

I majorly embarrassed myself today by getting in a swearing fit with my computer (fixing auto-numbering in a legal document created by someone else that has been hodge-podged from about six other documents is a MAJOR pain in the ass). I realized I had been swearing loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the cubes adjoining mine. Now, if I had a REAL office, this would be less of an issue because presumably there would be real walls rather than cube walls that happen to reach the ceiling with little windows at the top. But I don’t have a real office, I’m in a cube with a door (oh, and a glass front).

But that said, I am old enough, aren’t I, to learn how to deal with inanimate objects that refuse to do what I am telling them to do?  How does one develop unflappability? I admire people who have it, but I’ve never figured out how to cultivate it.

We had our first snowfall of the season today and it was beautiful. Fat, fluffy flakes falling as if we were in a giant snow globe.

Waking up the kids on a snowy morning is easy. Most mornings go like this:
“BB/LB time to get up. Come on guys. Get up, lets go” [repeat ad nauseum until reminders of breakfast get them moving.]

This morning went like this:

“BB, time to get up. It’s snoooooo-wing!” Bing! BB bolts out of bed to the window then beats me to LB’s room shouting, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!”

This snowfall was so ridiculously lovely even everyone at work was beaming this morning, greeting each other on the way to the coffee pot, “It’s snowing,” with goofy grins on our faces.

We love soccer; we just don’t love what it does to our schedules or attempts to have regular family meals.

But, it’s over now.  The awards ceremony was this afternoon, which is the official close to the season.  The first year BB had soccer, we didn’t go to the ceremony because I was like, whatever, BB was the kid staring at butterflies all game, he’s not getting an award.

But I’d forgotten about the egalitarian spirit of our recreational league (there is also a traveling league; at the moment, I don’t see either boy competing in that, not to mention it plays even more havoc with the schedule).  So when I found out that I had denied BB his opportunity to get a mini-trophy and some related league paraphenalia two years ago, I felt like a bad, bad mother.

Anyway, today was the first awards ceremony I’d been to (mr. jolt brought them last year, I had a conflict) and it was cute.  Each team marches on stage, kids who sold the most raffle tix or candy for the fundraisers got special recognition (and either $ or a 5lb candy bar-yeesh, cavities) then they read each kid’s name & handed them a mini trophy & this years’ item: a hoody and t-shirt with the league name.  It was hokey and cute (and somebody popped the lights off twice while we were there – the most dramatic event of the afternoon).

The best part, however, was looking at the expression on LB’s face (this is first year at soccer) after he got his trophy & shirt and was standing on the stage, looking out at the assembled crowd.  You could just see him thinking, “I got a trophy!” 

We spent the next half hour trying to keep him from accidentally breaking it while waiting for BB’s team to be called.  Fortunately, both trophies are in one piece (unlike BB’s from last year which broke about a month ago in a place that is impossible to crazy glue.

But now, for the quiet season.  Other than the holiday stuff, which will definitely keep us busy, weekends will be ours to create and enjoy.  Not that we don’t enjoy soccer, but soccer goes according to its own schedule, not ours.

I have to hand it to the local Obama campaign – particularly the people who organize the volunteers, they know how to lure you in.  When I made a donation about a month or so ago and dropped it off in person b/c I wanted to check out the operation they immediately asked me if I wanted to volunteer.  I told them I’d have to get back to them b/c my job imposes limits on my political activity.   About a week later a phone banker called to see if I could volunteer and I asked for a number to call them back b/c I still hadn’t checked with my job to see what the applicable limits were.

So, I went in this week (late, I know) to get a yard sign and make another donation.  The coordinator immediately asked if I could volunteer.  Having since checked the ‘gray area’ of the limits on me, I explained that it would take a ton of hoops for me to jump through to get permission.  Bang, without pause, he asked me if I could bring drinks and snacks in for the volunteers.  I said sure.   No fool he, he immediately asked me if I could do it by Wednesday (it was Monday when I was there).  I hemmed, and he said, well, how about Friday.  And I said sure, knowing Monday and Tuesday were crazy, but Friday was doable.

So today, after picking up the boys, we went to the store and loaded up on cases of single waters, sodas, juices, and some apples and dropped them off.    The boys were psyched to help (BB is a bigtime Obama supporter, LB is somewhat oblivious).

My friend J, who also stopped in for a yard sign recently, had a similar experience of polite persistence.  When she said that her ability to volunteer was limited b/c she’s at home with her baby (3mos), they immediately handed her a stack of cards to work on at home (I think she stuck on mailing labels or something & put them in the mail).

My friend C has worked on a number of campaigns at various levels of importance (she’s probably doing something down in DC where she moved last year) and she says the most important thing is getting volunteers to show up and then, even more important, making them feel like they are useful.  She had been disgusted with the Kerry organization when she joined as a volunteer in 2004 because they just didn’t keep people moving and making them feel like their volunteered time was useful.  You have to make people feel like their contribution, whether time, money, or what have you, is needed and valuable.

Anyway, I was impressed with how organized the Obama campaign was compared to other political shops I have floated around, and how they were politely persistent in their efforts to show you how you could help and feel involved.

And so far, no one has stolen my sign, although somebody has already stolen my friend J’s so she has to go back and get another one.  They’ll probably give her another stack of cards to label & mail out.

Just wanted to reassure y’all that I am not dead.  I’ve actually been having lots of bloggy thoughts, but not enough organization to get them posted.  When I checked in here today I had no idea it has been as long as it has since I last posted.

I’m not really sure what’s going on but I seem to be in this rut (not just blogwise, but lifewise) where I am simply not getting anything done.  I have reached new highs (or perhaps lows would be more accurate) in procrastination and I have yet to be able to effectively jump start myself.  I have made numerous lists and plans for how to get moving again, starting about a month ago, but it seems like the inertia is getting worse and its making me really cranky. 

Anywho, I hope to return to a more regular form of erratic posting soon.

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